31 March 2011

Macro flower photography with Tamron 90 mm f 2.8 Di MACRO

Macro flower photography may seem like an easy task but when really giving it a try, you will encounter various challenges. In order to successfully make a good macro flower photo, good skills and technique is required, together with appropriate tools, and with a little bit of luck.

The photo you see here was taken during Chinese New Year in a shopping mall with limited tools and skill. I have to try out a few setting before I manage to perfect the shot. So how do I do it?

Macro Flower Photography with Tamron 90 mm f 2.8 Di MACRO

Before I explain on how I photography this picture, let understand what will affect the quality of your macro flower photography.

1. Movement
When come to shooting something in very close proximity, ie in macro or close up, a small bit of movement will cause blur images. Movement cause by wind, handshake or even the flipping of the shutter mirror will cause you picture to get blur. That is why a good steady tripod is important for macro flower photography.

2. Lens
A good macro lens is one that cannot ignore to have if you want to venture into macro flower photography. A good Nikkor or Canon macro lens does not come cheap, but if you are a beginner and wanted to try out macro flower photography, an alternative is to use 3rd party lenses such as this Tamron 90 mm f 2.8 Di MACRO. Personally I found this to be quite a magnificent lens, despite the much cheaper price compared to the Nikkor version.

3. Lighting.
Good lighting gives vibrant to your photos. For macro flower photography, it is always best to keep ISO as low as possible. This is to reduce image noise. Further, we like to have fast shutter speed when we photograph, this is to eliminate motion blur.

So back to my photo, when I took this shot, I do not have the convenient of having a tripod as I’m in a shopping mall. Setting up a tripod photographing display flowers will look a bit silly, further the flower were located indoor, which also means poor ambient lighting. All I have at that time was a Tamron 90 mm f 2.8 Di MACRO lens, a Nikon SB600 flashgun and two hands.

So in order to get this shot right, I have to rely on my flashgun to give extra boost for lighting and reasonable fast shutter speed to countermeasure for hand shake. General rule of thumb, shutter speed should be about 1.5 times of the focus length, ie for my 90mm lens, I need shutter speed of at lease 1/125 s. 

Next I have to decide the aperture to use. Bare in mind that at close focus distance, wide aperture will give shallow depth of field. This is very obvious, as you will see smaller area of your flower to be in focus and the rest are all blur. 

In macro flower photography, we need to give sharpness/focus to certain anatomy of the flower while leaving the rest out of focus. This helps make the anatomy to stand out further. In my picture, it will be the Carpels (center part of the flower). Therefore I increase my f-stop to as high as possible without loosing exposure. I finally come to a f-stop of 16 for this photo.

The final setting I used for this macro flower photo is as below

Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/16.0
Focal Length: 90 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Metering Mode: Center-weighted average
Light Source: Flash
The last bit of thing that I need to do before I press the trigger is to avoid camera shake
from my body movement. So I apply a technique where you place both your arms closes to your body for extra support and hold your breath when you press the trigger.

This above macro flower photography technique was acquired through my own experience and many trial and errors. Hope you enjoy this tips.

For more macro flower photos, feel free to checkout my Flickr set Here.

By the way, do you love photography? and wanted to pursuit a degree in this subject? Learn more about Art and Design degrees NOW !.

2 Snaps:

excellent job blog ............


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